Saturday, September 03, 2005

India - The India Today

I came across a book recently.

The book's preface had the following text from the author.

"...there is something basically wrong with the thinking and action of the Indian people."

The author adds...

"I pondered some of the basic facts and problems related to India. Its people are no less intelligent, strong, and healthy than those of other nations. Its climate and natural resources are ideal for national growth and prosperity. The country has the basic technological knowledge for industrial and agricultural excellence. But having all these, why does India remain an impoverished country in which millions cannot eat well, cannot afford shelter, and cannot get adequate education and health services?"

The book that I read was the result of the above question from the author. Since my question was also exactly the same, I was very interested in this book.

The answer the author found was shocking to me.

The concept of a single God as Almighty and Supreme was introduced to India in 800 A.D.
Not Man but God was held to be Supreme.
Man could do only what was predestined by God. There was Heaven and Hell. Man possessed a soul which did not die but was reincarnated according to past and present deeds. The Brahmans were superior to all castes and the word Brahman was synonymous with Brahma and all the divinities.
Christianity and Islam did not borrow concepts and teachings from Hinduism. It was the other way around.
India went through a dramatic change in 800 A.D.
India entered the Dark Ages.


According to the author...

"As is the level of thought in a nation, so is the level of its progress. The rate of progress is the same as is prevalence of thought. This holds true for a nation, a society, a community, a group, or a single individual. Where the level of thought does not rise, the society, the nation or the entity does not prosper."

According to the author...

"The national thought pattern of India can be summarized in the following words:

Work without caring for the results.
Act, but do not look for the fruits of action.
Desires cause dukha(sorrow); therefore, do not have them.
You get only what fate dictates.
Material wealth is inferior; spiritual life is superior.
You should strive to achieve unity with God for a happy life, to go to heaven, and to be reincarnated.
Man is predestined and cannot do anything unless it is willed by God.
Sorrow, pain, and misery can be removed only by God, not by human effort.
"

Looking at India now, with the above things in mind, you see that even today, in many places in India, this holds very true.

Lets take one example.
Sorrow, pain, and misery can be removed only by God, not by human effort.

If something like a Tsunami that stuck the nation on December 2004, had had happened few hundred years ago, where the communication between the different parts of the world was nowhere near where it is now, what would the people have thought?
They would have thought that the Gods are angry and the Gods sent waves and they would have done some poojas and rituals to calm down the angry Gods.
There is no way that people would have really tried to investigate and find out why such a thing happened.
There is no way they would have connected the earthquake which happened hundreds of miles away to a Tsunami. In fact they would have thought Gods were angry with Indonesia too!

Would India have behaved the same before 800 A.D.?
Probably not. The thought pattern of India was different before 800 A.D.

These are the few things that happened after 800 A.D.
Religion merged with politics. There was no separation of the church and the state.
The caste system was made more rigid and discriminatory.
Philosophical and practical teachings were completely distorted.
The pragmatic qualities of Yoga were completely replaced by religious, spiritual, and mystical preoccupations.

No foreign power was able to conquer India before 800 A.D.

So what happened around 800 A.D.?
What influenced the thought pattern of India eventually changing it?

The Indians derived this thought-pattern from scriptures and teachings based on those scriptures.
And the most important of them all, which influenced the people, is the scripture what we now call 'The Bhagavad Gita'.

8 comments:

DaldaDappa and Proud said...

i haven't read ur post yet... But guess what! You have been TAGGED!!!! :P

vimal said...

TAGGED!

What is it?
Something like 'Punked'?

VJ said...

Vimal - This is really thought provoking and probably needs some time to digest. I read both the posts almost at the same time so thought might as well post a comment to this blog.

Well, as you would know necessity is the mother of all inventions. Everyone has necessities and the west harped on it as an opportunity and kept on inventing and innovating. India on the other hand - probably did not find the necessity, even if they had a necessity, it was like someone else will look into it or a pessimistic thought is what looms! This prevails even now. More over, India spends a lot of time and energy on political and other issues.

I agree with the religion getting merged with politics, the caste system taking prevalence and what not. To me this is the main reason. India is proud to have so much cultural and religious diversity - not many nations have to put up with this! Japan for instance does not have numerous cultures to work through. It stayed focused on technology post WW-II and look at them now. India on the other hand was/is/will be under constant fighting internally.

Here are a couple of points that I thought and probably would like to think aloud:

The author has mentioned that India prospered before 800AD - true - but not sure how many inventions did India have to make to prosper at that time. India was a wealthy country - thanks to the natural resources - which attracted the invaders. Looking at the purchasing power parity before 800AD, probably the common Indian did not have any problems.

"The concept of a single God as Almighty and Supreme was introduced to India in 800 A.D." - I disagree - even in the ancient civilizations - dates back to BC, Indians had a strong belief in this concept. I would not want to say, it dates way back to 8000-9000 years, however going by the relics of Mohenjadaro and Harappa - which dates back in 2500BC - one could see evidence of this concept.

"No foreign power was able to conquer India before 800 A.D." - This is not true.

The invasions took place before 800AD as well - for example, the Persians had invaded in 6th century BC and in fact it was the Persians who gave the word Hinduism. Though irrelevant - In Persian the letter H and S are pronounced almost the same so they mistook the word Sindhu (Sanskrit name for Indus) to H and then started calling Hindus and Hinduism.

Now, giving the scriptures as a reason for the mentality or the state India currently is at - is debatable. It is very thought provoking and as I said, I am still digesting and hence I cannot agree or disagree!

Good one dude! I am gonna put a link in my blog!

Smyta said...

Vimal:

How convinient!

I guess you are using what is called the,"The best way to eat a crow is to pretend it is tasty!"

*Shrugs* etc.,
Smyta

Smyta said...

VimAl:

You didnt tell me it was a triology. But I guess I did figure it out!:-)I simply read your recent posts!

But well let us come back to your basic question again-Do you think you got anywhere close to the answers?

//But I could never understand why?
Why were the people satisfied with what they had?
Why were they content with that they had?
Why did they not improve, enhance, excel what they were doing?//

"Happiness consists not in having much, but in being content with little."-Grandiner

India is not what it is now because it has been filled with people who are content. India is like this now because of the fact that no one is content.

What happened after 800 AD?

People like you and me failed to see that -things are far simpler than we assume it to be!!!!:D

Smiles etc.,

Smyta

Smyta said...

oops I forgot to add...Bhagavad Gita can take you to unravel the myseteries of modern physics to ancient psychologies...If only you understand-"You dont have to be blind to see;-)"

!!! etc.,

Smyta

vimal said...

Smyta,

Just so you know, the third and final part of the Trilogy is yet to come :)

You are in for some shocks there, I guarantee ;)

Echo/Lavanya said...

Vimal - what is the title of the book you are quoting from? Or is it going to be announced in part 3?